Giving is Better Than Blogging... or IS it?
Giving is better than receiving. I do sincerely believe this, as much as I like receiving. And I do like getting stuff.
You know that old saying about giving a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day... but teach him how to fish, and he'll end up going to cooking school and opening a swanky restaurant downtown that you won't be able to get reservations to, despite the fact that you taught him, in painstaking detail, how to tie flies when he was down and out?
I bring this up because of... livestock. My mom likes to donate to charities that work in Third World countries, and a recent charitable phenomenon is a Goat Gift Pack (or sheep, or cows, pigs, even fowl) for poor families that have no source of income. It's sort of a microfinance concept, that a small loan or donation put towards livelihood, rather than pure survival, is more beneficial to a poor family than, say, a bag of rice. Animals produce milk, which can be consumed and sold for profit. It's something that seems to be very popular right now in the giving world.
I'm a tad skeptical about the price tags, however. For instance, my mom recently paid $300 to a well-known religious organization to give a pair of sheep to a poor family in India. $300? I don't think a pair of sheep cost that much in the U.S., and we should have pricey sheep. I'm wary of just how much money is being skimmed off the top for these organizations. I know that there are lots of administrative costs, but we're talking about a country in which you can get a full, satisfying meal for under a dollar.
I'm not sure how to organize an investigation of whether or not Mom got ripped off, so I'll just caution anyone else who was thinking of paying $300 for livestock to shop around a bit. In my mother's case, she personally corresponds with thsi family, so I think she felt stuck in using her chosen organization to give them help.
By the way, Slate.com ran a good article on the best microfinance organizations to donate to. I found it informative, anyway.
Give without really giving
Link to Give
Greater Good runs several web sites that raise money to combat hunger, disease, and animal abuse. Greater Good is a for-profit company, but they give a portion of their profits to charity. They also started the click-to-give idea a while ago, before Google got involved, in which revenue provided by ad clicks was donated to dedicated charities. The premise is that you can visit any of the Greater Good sites once every 24 hours, and click once on an ad, which usually says something like "Click Here to Feed the Hungry". The revenue generated by that click goes entirely to charity.
I should add that Greater Good has a good price on a pair of goats for Rwandan families, too.
Urban Monk is donating $500 from ad revenue to charity, so I'm linking to him in hopes that he gets all the ad revenue necessary to write that check ASAP. You can also link to him - his preferred method is that you write a blog post as though it were the last blog post EVER - and help give without having to open your wallet. Check out his site whether you want to link to him or not - he's a good guy.